Elmo Accuser Retracts Sexual Misconduct Allegations

"I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," puppeteer Kevin Clash said

By Emily Feldman
|  Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012  |  Updated 3:19 PM PDT
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Elmo Accuser Retracts Sexual Misconduct Allegations

AP

Clash has been the voice of Elmo for nearly three decades.

Elmo's name has been cleared.

The 23-year-old who accused longtime Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual misconduct retracted his allegations Tuesday.

"He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship," the attorney for Clash's accuser said in a statement. "He will have no further comment on the matter."

Sesame Workshop—which announced Monday that it received a "communication" from the 23-year-old claiming he had been in a relationship with Clash when he was 16 years old—posted a follow-up statement on its website Tuesday.

"We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode," the statement said.

Sesame Workshop announced Monday it took the allegation received in June "very seriously" and later determined Clash had "exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined."

After meeting with Clash's accuser twice, however, Sesame Workshop said it could not substantiate his claim of underage conduct.

Clash had maintained his innocence and was granted a leave of absence to take "actions to protect his reputation," Sesame Workshop's statement said.

Clash did admit to having a relationship with his accuser but insisted that it was between two consenting adults and added in a statement to NBC News Monday that he was "deeply saddened that he [was] trying to characterize it as something other than what it was."

On Tuesday he issued a follow-up statement responding to his accuser's retraction: "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."

Clash is a three-time Emmy winner for outstanding performer in a children’s series and also won Emmys from 2001 to 2006 for his work as co-executive producer on the series, according to his bio.

Neither Clash's statement nor the message posted by Sesame Workshop indicate whether Clash will continue with his leave of absence or return to work.

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